What is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)?

Dialectical behavioral therapy is a kind of cognitive-behavioral therapy and makes use of specific techniques like talk therapy to treat mental issues. It adopts the CBT approach and focuses on the psychosocial aspect of therapy and tries to shun away from negative thoughts and welcome a positive attitude. This technique is employed for patients with borderline personality disorders in which people have suicidal thoughts. DBL helps such people to shun away the suicidal thoughts and show them the beautiful aspects of life awaiting them.

It is for the people who don’t fear harming themselves and have a self-destructive attitude.

It helps the people to live in the present, to cope with the issues with a good attitude, and to have a healthy relationship with other people.

Types of psychodynamic therapy:

What is a dialectic approach

It makes use of the fact that is called “dialectic” which may be defined as “Everything has some opposing forces among which conflict occurs and conflict can only be resolved by some effective dialogue between the two opposite forces”. Hence, this treatment employs dialogue as a major technique.

The basic assumptions of dialect include

  • Everything is interconnected.
  • Only the change is constant.
  • Opposition forces can collaborate to have a better understanding of reality.

The dialectic approach in CBT helps to resolve the conflict between the changes a person adopts to allow a positive impact on life and self-acceptance.

Main parts of DBT

The main parts involved in DBT include

  • Individual therapy
    Individual therapy includes sessions with the professional in which the person with disorder learn how to collaborate the self-learned skill and cope with the challenges that they are facing.
  • Group skills trainingr
    Individuals are asked to do assignments and play some role in groups for enhancing the relationship with other people.
  • Phone coaching
    If a person with a behavioral problem come across some issue in between two sessions, he/she may consult the therapist for the solution to the problem. This is done by calling the therapist.
  • Consultation group
    This involves the group of the psychotherapists from which the individual with behavioral issue gets the consultation regarding the problems and seek for the solution from them.

Mental Health Disorders that can be treated by Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Self-destructive and suicidal disorders are treated with the help of dialectic behavioral therapy. These are usually patients with high risks to their life and health and have multiple symptoms. It was initially designed for patients with suicidal thoughts but now this methodology is used to treat patients with many other issues.

Borderline personality disorder

Some people who are extremely stressed and the ultimate they think of their problems is a suicide can save themselves from Dialectic behavioral therapy. DBT is a ray of hope for such individuals.

Unstable attitude

The people whose behavior keeps on changing and don’t possess and stable and predictable attitude can seek help from DBT. The instability may be in moods and one may experience mood swings. It can be behavioral un-stability and the individual may respond to the same situation in different ways. Such people may also not have a good self-image or some fluctuating image. The thinking patterns may vary from time to time, and they may have a varied opinion about a relationship, At times that can behave as the best and sometimes, the worst.

Impulsive behavior

The individuals who possess a sudden and impulsive attitude can cause harm to themselves like some injury.

Substance abuse

Substance abuse is a common issue in people who have a borderline personality disorder. DBT is effective in the treatment of substance abuse.

Studies are being conducted and researchers are attempting to find out whether DBT helps the patients that are suffering from a mood disorder, disturbed eating pattern, ADHD, and stress after trauma.

Impact or Benefits

The positive changes observed in the individuals who undergo DBT include

A decrease in the severity of suicidal behaviour

The people who have undergone dialectic behavioral therapy have been observed to show a decrease in the tendency to attempt suicide and improvement in the suicidal attitude.

Less hospitalization

The individuals experiencing DBT have shown an improvement in their behavior and after the treatment, their frequency and period of hospitalization have been observed to be decreasing.

Anger management

The people who get angry easily and who face severe anger issues that too unmanageable anger are calm and composed personalities after going through dialectic behavioral therapy.

Not likely to quit treatment

As treatments are not always very easy to get. It requires self-control and management. A lot of people have been observed to drop out of a treatment like the people affected by severe drug addiction. But, dialectic behavioral treatment is a therapy that has shown a remarkable decrease in individuals to quit the treatment.

Better social attitude

The person with severe social issues, who earlier liked solitude is improved after attending the sessions of DBT. Social collaboration and participation in social events, communicating with others, and building a sound relationship have been observed in people who have gone through the Dialectic behavioral therapy.

How does DBT work

DBT works by teaching the individuals to cope with their issues in four different manners that involve

Distress Tolerance

Distress tolerance is a method in which an individual is taught how to accept and overcome worst situations and how to behave in a situation that is not likable.

Regulation of emotions

This involves emotion management and teaches people how to react to situations without being flooded with emotions. How to compose oneself in situations and behave elegantly.


This technique teaches how to be an active participant in society and how to become aware of oneself but also how to recognize and value others.

Interpersonal effectiveness

This involves the resolution of the conflict between 2 individuals having different personalities.

So, dialectic behavioral therapy is a type of CBT that is designed for individuals with severe mental issues like suicidal thoughts.

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